Visceral Manipulation (VM) was developed by French Osteopath, Jean-Pierre Barral. He was named one of Time Magazine’s Top Six Innovators for Alternative Medicine to watch in the new millennium.
This delicate manual therapy is often cited as a missing link in the treatment of recurring musculoskeletal pain, postural distortions and biomechanical dysfunction. Barral and his international instructing team have trained healthcare professionals around the world.
What is Visceral Manipulation (VM)?
“Viscera” relates to the internal organs of the body, such as the liver, kidneys and intestines. Visceral Manipulation is a gentle manual therapy that aids your body’s ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. Visceral Manipulation, or VM, does not focus solely on the site of pain or dysfunction, but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. The VM therapist feels for altered or decreased motion within the viscera, as well as restrictive patterns throughout the body and then applies VM techniques. VM employs specifically placed manual forces that work to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. Trained practitioners use the rhythmic motions of the visceral system to evaluate how abnormal forces interplay, overlap and affect the normal body forces at work. These gentle manipulations can potentially improve the functioning of individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity of the entire body and to re-establish the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
What is Neural Manipulation (NM)?
Neural Manipulation is a branch of VM that was developed by French Osteopaths, Jean-Pierre Barral and Alain Croibier. A nerve only functions correctly when it is able to move freely within its surrounding structures. NM is a gentle hands-on therapy that creates movement and freedom within the nervous system. Significant factors of NM include identifying the local fixations’ effects on the rest of the body; and how to access this relationship, connect with it, and resolve the more comprehensive (global) dysfunctional pattern.
How do Organs Contribute to Pain and Dysfunction?
Your body is made up of many interrelated components such as bones, muscles, nerves, a thin connective tissue called fascia, as well as the internal organs (viscera). Your organs are in perpetual motion. When you breathe, walk and stretch, your organs move in your chest and abdomen. For example, when you take a breath, your kidneys move one inch; and with deep inhalation, they move 4 inches. In a day, they move a little over ½ mile. That’s around 19,000 miles in a lifetime!
This movement of organs is transmitted through fascia to other structures of the body. When you are healthy, all the structures move with an interconnected fluidity. All of this movement is important as it influences activities throughout the body from the tiniest cellular pulsations to rhythmic contractions of the heart and blood flow. Optimum health relies on a harmonious relationship between the motions of the organs and other structures of the body.
There are many reasons for an organ to lose its mobility: physical traumas, surgeries, sedentary lifestyle, infections, pollution, bad diet, poor posture and pregnancy/delivery. When an organ is no longer freely mobile but is fixed to another structure, the body is forced to compensate. This disharmony creates fixed, abnormal points of tension and the chronic irritation gives way to functional and structural problems throughout the body – musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urinary, respiratory and digestive, to name a few.
Imagine scar tissue around the lungs. Because of the pull of the adhesion, with every breath, the movement patterns of the nearby structures would be altered. This could shift rib motion creating pulls on the spine. These restrictions might then show up as mid-back and neck pain, as well as limited motion in the shoulder. This scenario highlights just one of hundreds of possible ramifications of a small dysfunction – magnified by thousands of repetitions each day. This also explains how pain can often be far removed from the actual cause.